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50 years of ISM - 50 years of sweet history

The leading global trade fair for sweets and snacks gives insights into the important milestones of the sweets industry

1971 – the year when the Aswan dam in Egypt was inaugurated, McDonald's opened up its first German branch in Munich and the United Arab Emirates was founded. But 1971 is also the year that the first International Sweets and Biscuits Fair (ISM) took place in Cologne. And that was the start of a remarkable success story, not only for the trade fair itself, but also for many manufacturers in Germany and numerous countries around the globe. This year the leading global trade fair for sweets and snacks is celebrating its 50th anniversary and it certainly can look back on several highlights.

As a "spin-off" of Anuga, the ISM premiere kicked off in a comparably modest way. 351 companies exhibited new products to 5,800 trade visitors in 1971 in the scope of a small samples show of new products. The impressive figures recorded in the following years underline the dynamic upswing of the trade fair.

Since 1971 the number of exhibitors has increased by over 500 percent from 351 up to around 1,700 companies today. The exhibition space has expanded by more than 600 percent from 16,500 m² up to 120,000 m². And the number of international trade visitors rose by over 500 percent from 5,800 up to around 38,000. The foundation of two foreign satellite events abroad are also part of ISM's history. In 2004, the first Sweets China was held in Shanghai. In 2007, the Sweets Middle East in Dubai followed, which is today called Yummex Middle East.

Furthermore, the first ProSweets Cologne, the industry supplier trade fair for the sweets industry, was staged in 2006. The trade fair is staged parallel to ISM. ProSweets Cologne and ISM cover the entire value chain of the sweets industry at one trade fair location - beginning with the individual raw materials, to the technology, packing, through to the ready-to-buy product. Hence, together both trade fairs offer the exhibitors and visitors optimal synergies.

In 2007, the world was hit by a global financial crisis, which also led to a decline in the numbers of visitors and exhibitors at ISM. From 2011 onwards the trade fair regained its former strength and recorded increased numbers of exhibitors and visitors once more. In the following years, the trade fair experienced further development and offered new exhibition areas for young companies and trend-oriented themes. In 2019, ISM is expanding its exhibition space to include Hall 3.1.

In total 28 companies share 50 years of history together with ISM: They have exhibited at the trade fair every year since 1971 and they comprise of numerous big and medium-sized companies. These include:
- Frankonia Schokoladenwerke GmbH
- Piasten GmbH
- Klett Schokolade GmbH & Co. KG
- Aachener Printen-& Schokoladenfabrik Henry Lambertz GmbH & Co. KG
- Max Weiss Lebkuchenfabrik Neu-Ulm GmbH
- Wilhelm Kinkartz GmbH & Co. KG
- Rübezahl Schokoladen GmbH
- Coppenrath Feingebäck GmbH
- Frigeo Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH
- Erasmi & Carstens GmbH & Co. KG, Carstens Lübecker Marzipan
- Verdener Keks- und Waffelfabrik Hans Freitag GmbH & Co. KG
- FDF Flensburger Dragee-Fabrik GmbH + Co. KG
- Pit Süßwaren und Nährmittelfabrik Hoffmann GmbH & Co.KG
- Zentis GmbH & Co.KG
- Farüchoc Schokoladenfabrik GmbH & Co. KG
- Stereo Holland-Gebäck GmbH & Co. KG
- Eichetti Confect Spezialitäten A. Eichelmann GmbH & Co. KG
- Genuport Trade GmbH
- Trolli GmbH
- Georg Parlasca Keksfabrik GmbH
- Hans Riegelein & Sohn GmbH & Co. KG
- Horst Schluckwerder GmbH
- Steenland Chocolate B.V.
- Chr. Storz GmbH & Co. KG
- FEODORA Chocolade
- Küfa-Werk GmbH & Co. KG
- Windel GmbH & Co. KG
- Luigi Zaini S.P.A.

Koelnmesse has been from the start and still is the organiser of ISM and - its industry sponsor is the International Sweets and Biscuits Fair Task Force.

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